As a self-taught herbalist and fertility expert, I realize the plusses and minuses of a "self-schooled" education. The danger, of course, is when one is learning in a bubble, without any real life mentors or hands on experience. On the flip side, the plusses are astronomical!
Research shows that people learn faster, in more depth, and retain more information, longer, when they are self motivated to learn the subject at hand. I can say that for me, this has most certainly been the case.
Though I am always brusing up on my "usual" subjects of interest, I try to take on something new in the field of medicine, regularly. Right now, that is Homeopathic Medicine.
Homeopathy has been around for quite sometime. Early American settlers used it. Their European counterparts used it. Entire hospitals in both places based their practices on it, until it was edged out by what is commonly known as the Western Medical Model, in very recent times. It is based on the principle of "like cures like," which in and of itself is an interesting concept. Can a remedy that, say, gives you hives when you are well, actually CURE those hives that you might naturally acquire in another way? Homeopathy says yes and it seems to have some good evidence to back that up.
But here's where it starts to get very, eh, alternative. You see, the little tablets or pellets (or tinctures) of remedy that you take under your tounge or use as a cream don't actually contain any of the element that you are ingesting.
Okay, I'll stop right here. Yes, you are ingesting something...but that is the "energetic imprint" of the element (usually animal, plant or mineral). In other words, if we took your tablet or tincture or pellet into a lab for analysis we would see water and perhaps lactose in the pill form or glycerine/alcohol in the tincture form and nothing more. This is because of the "woo-woo" principle of Homeopathy (and no, that is not the official name) which states that the remedy is strengthened through dilution. This means that though an original tincture is made with the animal, plant or mineral that would prove to be the remedy, it is so heavily diluted that there is no longer any trace of it in the finished product...which actually makes the remedy stronger and more effective.
Now if all of this seems a bit far out (and it certainly does to me), let's take a look at some common remedies. For example, calendula. This is used for sore or sensitive skin ailments in homeopathy, but it is also used in plant form in the modality of herbalism for similar indications. Is it possible that "like cures like" is also a principle in Herbalism, albeit unstated or even unrealized?
The thing about taking the herb is that there are contraindications. There are also potential side effects (albeit far lesser side effects than most western medicines). But with homeopathy, unless the patient is allergic to dairy (which only applies for the tablet and pellet form), there really are no side effects. This, of course, is unheard of in western medicine...and for good reason. But I'll save that for a future post.
At any rate, I shunned homeopathy for many years because this "woo-woo" factor just didn't sit well with me. Until I saw it work. I remember being over at a friend's house when her daughter took a nasty fall. She was howling and beggining to swell up in various places on her body when she was quickly given the remedy "arnica" and immediately stopped screaming. Like magic, her swelling began to reverse. And within a few minutes she was off playing. An hour later, there was no sign of the injury.
At this point I learned everything I could about arnica as a homeopathic remedy. I am still learning about the indications and usages of arnica, actually. Things are never as simple as they seem. But I brought some home and kept it on my medicine/spice shelf until it was needed.
Sure enough, one of my children got a huge whack on playground equiptment and I rushed home to grab the arnica. Like magic, the knot on the head immediately started going down and my screaming baby was instantly soothed.
Though this is certainly not my area of expertise, I am learning to become proficient in homeopathy's use and administration. Until I am, I've got a great doctor of classical homeopathy that I can (and do) recommend. But you don't need a doctor to use homeopathy for many of your general home ailments. And these books will show you how...
Homeopathic Medicine At Home by Maesimund B. Panos, M.D. was written by a homeopathic doctor who was the daughter of a homeopathic doctor. She was also married to a homeopathic doctor who actually apprenticed under her father. The forward is written by the illustrious Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D. (who I will most certainly address in a later post) and that alone should attest to the book's worth. But this is truly the end all and be all for those who want to learn the basics, quickly, and begin using homeopathy safely and effectively in their own homes. It is an indispensible resource and a necessary addition to anyone's library.
Also recommended is Homeopathy and Your Child: A Parent's Guide to Homeopathic Treatment from Infancy Through Adolescence by Lyle W. Morgan II, Ph.D. H.M.D. Like the previous recommendation, this is written by an actual doctor according to the western medical model, who also happens to be a homeopathic doctor as well. Certainly not as great as the first, but unique in that it is specific to the ailments of children (which the first book mentioned does cover to some extent) but has a very unique and truly genius layout that allows the reader quick and easy access to remedies, without ever actually having to read the entire book. For those that just need a quick guide to children's ailments in homeopathy, this is the book for you.
Let me know what you think about the books listed above, or any of the books in my posts (which are also featured in the amazon carousel at the bottom of this page and all of my pages) on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wise-Woman-Fertility/182752565080597 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, I answer client questions on the facebook page, so please feel free to ask away!